By Ryan Isley
National League Wins All-Star Game
We do not know who will be in the World Series but we do know that thanks to Prince Fielder and a filthy pitching staff, the team representing the National League will have home-field advantage as they won the All-Star Game 5-1 over their American League counterparts.
Fielder provided all of the offense that the National League really needed when he took a C.J. Wilson pitch 410 feet to left center field for a three-run homer in the 4th inning with the National League trailing 1-0. The ball hit the top of the fence and caromed over the wall for the shot that would give Fielder the MVP when things were all said and done.
The National League pitching staff just proved to be way too much for the American League offense, as Phillies teammates Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee combined to retire the first 11 hitters of the game before Lee gave up a solo blast to Adrian Gonzalez in the 4th inning.
Tyler Clippard of the Nationals relieved Lee after two more hits and promptly gave up a single to Adrian Beltre but Jose Bautista was thrown out trying to score to end the inning. That was enough to earn Clippard the win when Fielder gave the National League the lead for good in the bottom of the inning.
From there, the National League trotted out Clayton Kershaw, Jair Jurrjens, Craig Kimbrel, Jonny Venters, Heath Bell, Joel Hanrahan and Brian Wilson to finish out the game. They did so by allowing just two hits and one walk in their combined five innings of work.
The American League was at a disadvantage from the start as they were without the services of C.C. Sabathia, Justin Verlander, David Price, Jon Lester and Mariano Rivera for one reason or another and things only got worse when Josh Beckett was unable to take the mound after feeling discomfort when he warmed up.
Indians in the All-Star Game
When Derek Jeter decided that he did not want to participate in this year’s All-Star game, it gave Asdrubal Cabrera of the Indians the chance to enjoy a start in his initial summer classic. Cabrera, hitting .293 with 14 homers and 51 RBIs, was more deserving of the spot than Jeter anyway. Cabrera batted second for the American League and went 0-for-2 on the night with a strikeout and a flyout.
The last time we saw Chris Perez take the mound, Joey Bautista hit a bomb off him that has still yet to land that gave the Toronto Blue Jays a 5-4 win over the Indians on Saturday. Chris Perez, he of the 2.43 ERA and 21 saves in 22 opportunities, came into the All-Star Game in the 6th inning with the American League trailing 4-1. After getting Matt Kemp to fly out to right (sounds like the home run derby) and striking out Joey Votto, Perez gave up a double to former Cardinals teammate Yadier Molina. He retired Justin Upton to end the inning without allowing any more damage.
Indians manager Manny Acta also found himself in Arizona as he was part of Ron Washington’s coaching staff along with Toronto Manager (and ex-Indian) John Farrell. Washington was managing the game by virtue of his Texas Rangers winning the American League pennant last season.
Reds in the All-Star Game
Scott Rolen, hitting just .241 with five homers and 36 RBIs, was named a replacement on the team when Chipper Jones of the Braves had to pull out due to injury and was named the starter because top vote-getter at the position Placido Polanco of the Phillies has not played in a week because of an inflamed back. Rolen saw just eight pitches in two at-bats and struck out twice.
Joey Votto came into the game in the 5th inning, replacing Fielder. Votto, hitting .324 with 13 homeruns and 55 RBI on the season, went 0-for-2 with a strikeout and a groundout to third base.
Brandon Phillips was the next Reds player to see action, replacing Rickie Weeks in the 6th inning. The former Indian flew out in his only at-bat.
Jay Bruce was the last of the Reds to enter the ballgame when he hit for Molina in the 8th inning, and just like Rolen and Votto, he struck out. Bruce also had an error in his short stint in the All-Star Game.
Overall it was not a night that the Reds will want to remember anytime soon as their four players went a combined 0-for-6 with four strikeouts and an error.
United States Women Back in Action
The United States Women’s National Soccer Team will take the pitch again Wednesday morning for the first time since their unbelievable comeback win in penalty kicks against Brazil on Sunday. The United States will face France in the first of two semifinals with Sweden and Japan playing in the later game. The United States is trying to win their third World Cup title, but their first since 1999.
While both the United States and France were pushed to the max in their quarterfinals matches, having played two 15-minute overtime sessions and then winning in penalty kicks, the issue for the Americans may be fatigue. The United States played in the later game on Sunday and did so with 10 players for more than 55 minutes while France played in the early game on Saturday and has had more than 24 hours of extra rest time than the United States.
McIlroy the Favorite at The Open Championship
After shooting an astounding 16-under par 268 and winning the U.S. Open by eight strokes, Rory McIlroy is the clear-cut favorite to win the Open Championship (commonly known as The British Open) when play begins Thursday at Royal St. George’s in Sandwich, England.
The 22-year-old from Northern Ireland will be paired with South Africa’s Ernie Els and the United States’ Rickie Fowler for the first two rounds. The group will start their quest for the championship when they tee off at 4:09am ET on Thursday for the first round.
While McIlroy is the favorite to hoist the Claret Jug and players like Luke Donald and Lee Westwood will get headlines as well, it is important to remember that defending champion Louis Oosthuizen was nowhere to be found last year in the pre-tournament talks. As a matter of fact, the last time the tournament was held at Royal St. George’s, another relative unknown – Kent State’s own Ben Curtis – shot a 1-under 283 to best the field.